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Live 8 Reviews

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December 13, 2010
More "Excellent Except the Bits I Fast-Forwarded Past"

This is the second of these I've reviewed in the last few days, and there's a third coming up. (I may not actually review it, of course, but I do have it to watch.) This one was from 2005 and was intended to convince the various world leaders at the G8 Summit happening at the time to cancel the debt owed their countries by various African nations and hopefully keep African children from starving to death quite so often. I could be wrong, here, but I'm pretty sure these were even free concerts, a curious concept for, you know, a benefit. It was all about the publicity, not the money. Even though the money really would help. I will say, though, that a lot of the problem in Africa is not so much money and food or lack thereof but problems of corruption, distribution, and dictatorship. Colonialism really did a number on that continent, and the slave trade wasn't exactly kind to it, either.

One of the other differences between this and [i]Live Earth[/i] is that this DVD set shows more than one song of many of its performers. Not all of them, and the choice of who to show multiple songs from is a little eclectic--one from Brian Wilson and four or five from some guy named Robbie Williams?--but by and large, it seems to have been easier to get several onto the DVD if your career was at least fifteen, and for preference more, years old at the time. Of course, Pink Floyd did several at least in part because it was their first reunion in nearly a quarter of a century, at least of the original lineup. Still, I admire anyone deciding a lineup who ensures that U2 gets three numbers and Kanye West one, except inasmuch as Kanye West is there at all. While there are several non-musical celebrities who put in brief appearances introducing people, such as George Clooney introducing Annie Lennox, the DVD mostly just features musicians. George Clooney even promises not to sing.

However, the concert promoters, or possibly just whoever put together the DVD, really seem convinced that we'd like it best stuck in 1987. Now, don't get me wrong; I personally stopped paying attention to popular music in about 1997, myself. I'm fine with 1987. On the other hand, I feel kind of bad for poor Def Leppard stuck playing "Pour Some Sugar on Me." Sting (who, juding from closeups, just doesn't seem to age) gets several songs on the DVD, and they're all from his Police days. Basically, it just seems as though that was the deal. Madonna does three songs; "Music," the newest, was from 2000, and she started the set with "Like a Prayer." Stevie Wonder did "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." And at that, the only Brian Wilson song to make the DVD collection was "Good Vibrations," which is from 1966. So yeah, I don't know. If it weren't for various acts I'd never heard of, I may well have missed what year the concert was from. Come to that, I think it was the guy from Maroon 5 who was wearing a T-shirt from a Beastie Boys tour . . . from 1987.

And then there's Will Smith. Now, I have talked to three people today who didn't realize he had once had a recording career. This astonished me. Yeah, okay, I'm not sure I expected them to have heard of DJ Jazzy Jeff, but really? I mean, the man had an entire TV show named for his rapping persona. Seriously. When I saw him carried onstage in an honest-to-Gods litter, I joked to Lonewulf that it was them all pretending any of us cared about his recording career anymore. This is when I found out that Lonewulf didn't realize he'd had one. Neither did Terra and David. So I ask you, faithful readers--you remember that he had one, right? Not just me? Though of course he did then get the audience to . . . sing isn't the right word, but yeah, the theme to [i]Fresh Prince of Bel Air[/i], just out of curiosity as to whether or not they can. Indeed, quite a lot of his act seemed to be marked by his relative sanity, unto telling one of the dancers that he didn't actually need to hold the pose which was one step shy of a headstand.

And, yes, I did skip quite a lot of this. I have never cared about Mariah Carey and see no reason to start now. Destiny's Child? Did not bother. And I honestly kind of pride myself on the fact that all I know about Kanye West is that he seems a singularly unpleasant person. Who apparently was responsible for what George W. Bush considers the worst moment of his administration, which only serves to make me angrier at both of them. I very nearly gave this a nine, and indeed I've added it to my Amazon wish list. On the other hand, how can you give a nine to something you skipped perhaps a quarter of? Given that, perhaps an eight is too high. But there's that Pink Floyd reunion. I'm not a huge Pink Floyd fan, but they did "Comfortably Numb," which is almost enough for me. I'm also pretty sure that if you liked, say, Velvet Revolver, it was a pretty good Velvet Revolver. Whereas my thought was pretty much, "Hey! That's Slash's hat from 1987!"
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